Harris/Solberg vs. MMSD: 25 years later, Landmark Madison desegregation case revisited,

A. David Dahmer:

Twenty five years ago this week, there was a landmark decision where the people of Madison stood up for themselves and fought against the creation and maintenance of segregation resulting directly from school boundary changes.
t was an attempt to abandon the central city and the south side in favor of newer, developing peripheral areas. The process would have done serious damage to Madison’s Black population.
But two people wouldn’t let it happen.
Sandy Solberg, on behalf of two neighborhood centers in Central and South Madison, and Richard Harris, who then was an administrator at Madison Area Technical College and a member of the district’s Lincoln-Franklin Task Force, were instrumental in fighting a fight that eventually found that the Madison School Board’s 1979 decision to close schools and redraw attendance boundaries discriminated against minority students and violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

2 thoughts on “Harris/Solberg vs. MMSD: 25 years later, Landmark Madison desegregation case revisited,”

  1. I spent some time reviewing the orginal OCR complaint by Dr. Harris and Ms. Solberg when the MMSD was threatening to close Lindbergh Elementary on the northside some 18 months ago. This was, of course, concurrent to the building of the new elementary school on the far west side. There were some eerie similarities to the two situations.

  2. David, I spent some time looking at the budget before the referendum to build new space was passed. It was clear to me that the district would propose to close/consolidate a school or two or slash programs if they built new space. Yet the people who proposed the building projects didn’t seem to understand that, or more likely, hid it until after the vote.

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